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International money transfers for financial directors

Save money and increase profits by finding the best exchange rate when sending money overseas.

If your business regularly has overseas bills to pay, you’ll be well aware that sending an international money transfer can be quite expensive. However, by comparing transfer providers and finding the best exchange rate and lowest transfer fees, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars when sending money overseas. Read on to find out how.

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Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options. Our foreign exchange experts offer a best rate guarantee, are ASIC authorised and never charge transfer fees.

They can help you with all your needs including:

  • Buying property abroad
  • Emigrating
  • Regular overseas payments
  • Risk management
  • Forecasting

See exchange rate updates in real-time

Refreshing in: 60s | Mon, 11 Dec 11:03am GMT
USD AUD CAD EUR CNY GBP INR MXN PHP
1 USD = 1.0000 1.3321 Inverse: 0.7507 1.2862 Inverse: 0.7775 0.8498 Inverse: 1.1768 6.6194 Inverse: 0.1511 0.7468 Inverse: 1.3391 64.4843 Inverse: 0.0155 18.9512 Inverse: 0.0528 50.4414 Inverse: 0.0198
1 AUD = 0.7507 Inverse: 1.3321 1.0000 0.9656 Inverse: 1.0357 0.6379 Inverse: 1.5676 4.9692 Inverse: 0.2012 0.5606 Inverse: 1.7838 48.4086 Inverse: 0.0207 14.2268 Inverse: 0.0703 37.8665 Inverse: 0.0264
1 EUR = 1.1768 Inverse: 0.8498 1.5676 Inverse: 0.6379 1.5136 Inverse: 0.6607 1.0000 7.7896 Inverse: 0.1284 0.8788 Inverse: 1.1380 75.8834 Inverse: 0.0132 22.3013 Inverse: 0.0448 59.3580 Inverse: 0.0168
1 GBP = 1.3391 Inverse: 0.7468 1.7838 Inverse: 0.5606 1.7224 Inverse: 0.5806 1.1380 Inverse: 0.8788 8.8642 Inverse: 0.1128 1.0000 86.3521 Inverse: 0.0116 25.3779 Inverse: 0.0394 67.5470 Inverse: 0.0148

Definition: Best* exchange rate

There is no single best exchange rate, and the best exchange rate for you may not be the best for someone else. This is because there are other factors to consider when sending an international money transfer in addition to the exchange rate, including the transfer fees, the payment method, the speed of delivery and the level of customer service. One person may need to transfer money within 24 hours, while others may have no time frame, which may affect the exchange rate. Exchange rates are also affected by wider economic factors. Previous performance isn't an indication of future performance. You should consider a range of products when deciding which provider is most suited to your personal money transfer needs.

How can a financial director use international money transfers?

As a financial director, you’re responsible for optimising the company’s financial performance. In other words, you need to find the most cost-effective strategies and options across all facets of your business, finding ways to reduce expenses wherever possible.

If your business frequently needs to send funds overseas and pay bills to international clients, suppliers and service providers, it’s essential that you find the most affordable way to send money across international borders. Australian businesses rely on international money transfers to:

  • Purchase stock
  • Pay suppliers
  • Pay for professional services
  • Send funds for overseas legal fees
  • Buy or lease business premises
  • Pay overseas-based staff
  • Settle other outstanding debts

In an era where technological advances mean that Australian businesses are more closely connected to the rest of the world than ever before, finding cost-effective international transfer methods is crucial.

The cost of sending money overseas

Unfortunately, you can’t send money overseas for free. In fact, there are two costs you need to consider when placing an international transfer: the exchange rate and the transfer fee.

  • The exchange rate. This reflects the value of the Australian Dollar (AUD) relative to another currency, for example AUD/USD, and determines how much foreign currency you can purchase. However, the exchange rate you receive for an international transfer depends on the margin the transfer provider imposes on the price of the particular currency. For example, while your bank might purchase USD at the mid-market rate of AUD$1 = USD$0.74, it makes a profit by selling USD to you at a rate of AUD$1 = USD$0.71.
  • The transaction fee. You will typically also need to pay a transaction fee each time you send an international transfer. This is sometimes calculated as a percentage of the transaction amount, but in most cases is charged as a flat fee.

Exchange rates and transaction fees vary between transfer providers, so if you want to save money when sending funds overseas it’s vital to compare a range of providers.

How to save money on overseas transfers

The first port of call for many businesses that need to send money overseas is their regular bank. This seems to be a no-brainer. if you already have an account set up and have a strong relationship with a particular bank, it’s logical that you would ask that same institution to handle your international transfer.

However, while this is a simple and convenient choice, it can also be a costly one. Banks are notorious for providing exchange rates that are well below the mid-market rate, which means that a larger proportion of the money you pay goes to your bank rather than to your overseas client or supplier. Transfer fees are also usually quite high with the banks, ranging from around AUD$15 to AUD$30.

That’s why you should always consider other transfer options, such as those provided by online transfer companies. These companies – you can see the links to a range of trusted providers on the left of this page – specialise in foreign exchange, typically offering better exchange rates and charging minimal fees compared to the major banks. In other words, they offer secure, fast and convenient online transfers, but with the added benefit of making transactions more affordable.

To find out just how much money you could save by comparing your transfer options, let’s look at a case study.

Bank vs online transfer providers

homewares business womanCharlotte needs to send EUR€10,000 to France to purchase new stock for her growing Australian homewares business. In the past she’s simply sent international wire transfers directly from her normal business transaction account, but she’s come to realise that her bank skims off a large share of the money she pays.

Charlotte decides to compare her bank with two online transfer companies to see if she can find better value for money. As the table below shows, both online transfer companies can help Charlotte save hundreds of dollars when compared to her bank. However, online transfer company B clearly offers the best value for money, allowing Charlotte to save AUD$892.54.

This shows just how crucial it is to compare transfer providers and shop around for the best exchange rate and lowest fees.

BankOnline transfer company AOnline transfer company B
Exchange rateAUD$1 = EUR€0.6195AUD$1 = EUR€0.6486AUD$1 = EUR€0.6549
Transfer feeAUD$25AUD$7AUD$5
AUD$ needed to send EUR€10,000AUD$16,142.05AUD$15,417.82AUD$15,269.51
Total cost of transactionAUD$16,167.05AUD$15,424.82AUD$15,274.51
Difference in total cost compared to bankAUD$749.23AUD$892.54
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How to compare transfer providers

So what should you look at when choosing a transfer provider? Remember to consider the following points:

  • The exchange rate. The case study above shows that even if a slightly higher exchange rate may not seem like a big deal at first, when you’re sending large amounts of money it can make a huge difference to the cost of a transfer. Search for the provider that offers the best exchange rates.
  • Transaction fees. Remember to consider transaction fees alongside the exchange rate quoted, as a high fee can quickly cause the cost of a transfer to skyrocket. It’s also worth hunting around for an online transfer company that waives its fees on large transfer amounts.
  • Currencies available. While there are some major currencies, including USD, EUR and GBP, that can be transferred by almost every provider, not all providers offer support for rarer currencies. Make sure the provider you choose allows you to transfer funds to every country where your business has financial obligations.
  • Transfer times. The speed of a transfer can typically vary from one to five days, so remember to compare the average turnaround time of each transfer provider.
  • Regular payment plans. If you need to send a regular transfer overseas, for example to make weekly rent payments on commercial premises, check to see if a provider allows you to set up a recurring payment plan. If so, will you need to pay an extra fee?
  • Forward contracts. Does the provider allow you to purchase forward contracts? These useful transfer tools act as a safeguard against a falling exchange rate by allowing you to secure a rate now for a transaction that will be sent weeks, months or sometimes years into the future.
  • Limit orders. A limit order is another tool to help you get a better exchange rate. It allows you to nominate the exchange rate you want (the minimum limit) and then let the transfer provider monitor currency markets and wait for that rate to become available.
  • Account managers. Some foreign exchange companies offer a personal account manager to provide personalised advice and help you manage large or sensitive transactions. If this sounds like a feature you want, check to see if it is offered and whether it is free or attracts an additional charge.
  • Customer support options. Finally, make sure there are other support options available when you need help with a transaction. Services include online help and education centres as well as phone, email and live chat support.

If you shop around and compare transfer providers, you can easily improve the bottom line for your business.

Picture: Shutterstock

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